Amazing to think that Ian Dury would have been seventy this year! To celebrate his life and work, his daughter Jemima has spent a few years going through the things that he collected during his lifetime and out of this archive has published a collection of his lyrics.
This is effectively the book launch, so tonight she’s presenting a retrospective of his life and lyrics alongside Chas Jankel (Durys’ songwriting partner, guitarist and piano player in The Blockheads) and Phill Jupitus, who has performed with The Blockheads on and off since Durys’ death in 2000.
The venue is one of the rooms in the British Music Experience, an exhibition that forms part of the O2. At the moment, they are exhibiting pictures of The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan and entrance to the gallery is included in the ticket price for this talk.
Jemima has some pictures on her laptop so we get to see Ian Dury aged 5, a few snaps of his mum and dad, Dury at grammar school and pictures of him at Chailey Heritage in Lewes where he spent some time after contracting polio.
If you’re a Blockheads fan it’s fascinating and even if you’re not I’m sure you would find it interesting. After all, Ian Dury was a character. Phill, Chas and Jemima take it in turns to read sections of the lyrics with Phill revealing himself to be a Blockheads nerd by reciting some of them from memory. He takes great delight in reciting “Fuck off Noddy”, his favourite Dury lyric, and Jemima says it’s included in the book after her lawyer said you can’t defame a cartoon character.
Chas Jankel explains that a lot of Blockheads songs started with the lyrics, as Dury was such a prolific writer, then he would fit the music to the words. There’s also a Q & A session and time for each panel member to share their personal reminisces of Ian Dury.
All in all , a really interesting discussion on the flawed genius of a great lyricist.
And the title “Hallo Sausages”? Jemima Dury says that when Ian was in hospital he was given a laptop and that was what he eventually managed to type. So, they were effectively the last words he ever wrote and that says it all really.
Get a copy of “Hallo Sausages” here